Shop prices are being driven down by falling prices of non-food items after aggressive promotions across clothing and DIY.

Prices across the nation’s shops fell in February by 1.7% as deflation continued into its 22nd month, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

The fall was in line with the 12-month average and was a result of non-food deflating by 1.3% and food deflating by 0.4%.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “It was worth a visit to the local DIY store or updating some house furniture with good promotions found in both categories. 

“Food prices fell for the second month in a row, as fresh food edged down to its lowest level on record with milk, cheese, eggs, vegetables and convenience food all cheaper than they were a year ago.Meanwhile, there was a very small rise for ambient-food.”

Nielsen head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins added: “Since the start of the year, we have seen some very competitive pricing across both the food and non-food channels and this is helping to keep prices low for shoppers.

With many commodity prices still falling, if shoppers can be encouraged to spend more, then retailers will be looking for volume sales increases over the next few months.

The challenge for food retailers is that in store promotions also remain close to an all-time high at 33% of sales and the use of vouchers or coupons continues, making consumer demand rather unpredictable.”